A ventilator is a machine that helps you breathe or breathes for you, depending on your respiratory needs. It is useful in both clinical and home care settings to treat sicknesses and diseases that have caused respiratory failure, such as COVID-19, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), and lung cancer.
Suppose you or a loved one received ventilation treatment in a hospital or other clinical care setting. In that case, your doctor might prescribe a home ventilator upon your release for continued respiratory support. In this article, we’ll describe the differences between hospital and home ventilators and outline the four primary types of home ventilators that you and your medical team might consider.
The difference between home and hospital ventilators
Home ventilators serve the same purpose as hospital versions used in a long term care facility or other clinical setting. They both have a mode that delivers a preset volume of air to your lungs at a set interval and another mode that delivers a preset pressure at a set interval. Whether you need volume support ventilation (VSV) or pressure support ventilation (PSV) depends on several factors, including lung compliance.
If hospital ventilators share the same modes as home ventilators, what is the difference between them? In a nutshell, home ventilators are a smaller version of those used in a hospital setting, with some key distinctions:
- Home ventilators are more compact
- Home ventilators are more portable
- Home ventilators have a longer-lasting battery than hospital ventilators
Continue reading to learn more about the different types of home ventilators and how you and your medical team can choose the best one for your situation.
4 Types of home ventilators
Below, we’ve summarized the four primary types of home ventilators. While most function similarly, some are more ideally suited for a specific need than others, making it critical to weigh each device’s pros and cons with your medical team.
1. LTV home ventilators
As the first commercially available mechanical home ventilator with sophisticated respiratory technology in a laptop-sized device, a laptop ventilator (LTV) works well for basic ventilation needs. While the technology has been around for a while, it remains a widely used type of home ventilator that many doctors, respiratory therapists, and other medical professionals trust.
2. Trilogy home ventilators
Trilogy home ventilators use Philips Respironics-patented BiPAP and CPAP ventilation to provide the most appropriate and comfortable air volume and pressure for your needs. While it features newer technology than LTVs, this type of home ventilator isn’t right for everyone. Be sure to discuss the benefits and drawbacks of Trilogy home ventilators with your medical team.
3. Astral home ventilators
Like Trilogy machines, the ResMed Astral series of home ventilators also feature some of the latest technology in a lightweight and portable design with long battery life. Trilogy and Astral are akin to Ford® and Chevy® when it comes to well-known brand leaders with comparable features. Ask your doctor and medical team which type of ventilator is best for your situation.
4. VC home ventilators
The latest advances in home ventilators include multi-function VC units that deliver both ventilation and cough assist all in one. Particularly beneficial for the ALS community, VC home ventilators allow you to use these two functions concurrently without having to switch between two machines. The drawback of these ventilators is that some insurances may not cover them.
So, which home ventilator is right for you? The best machine for you depends on your need, stage of the disease process, whether the patient is an adult or child, insurance coverage, and other critical factors. Your doctor and healthcare team can point you toward your ideal solution.
How to choose a home ventilator equipment company
Perhaps equally important as choosing the right home ventilator is choosing the right home ventilator equipment supplier. Just about any company can supply home respirators to patients – there are no educational or specialized requirements. As such, becoming a savvy consumer is critical for selecting a respiratory equipment supplier that offers:
- Highly trained respiratory therapists on staff with 24/7 availability for emergency responses
- Home ventilators with excellent tech support, easy features, and on time routine service calls
- Comprehensive in-person how-to training sessions and frequent check-ins to ensure you and your family are comfortable using the equipment
- Extensive respiratory equipment knowledge that positions your supplier in an advisory role on your medical team, routinely collaborating with your doctor and other medical staff on your behalf
Our expert respiratory therapy knowledge, market-leading equipment, and 24/7 emergency support service set us apart from other homecare medical and equipment suppliers. Reach out to our team to learn more about how our expert knowledge of home ventilators can benefit you or your loved one.